Archive of Australian Judaica

Australian Jewish Records - archival (organisations and individual), periodicals, tapes, videos, dvds, photos, ephemera, indexed newspaper clippings and microform.

Former Freemantle Synagogue

In essence, the Archive has become what it set out to be, a collection of source materials relating to Jewish Life in Australia from the origin of the Jewish community up to the present day. The greater portion of the holdings date from the period of the Second World War. However, the research which is supported from this material is broad based, falling within the realms of demography, history, economics, international relations, law and politics, and embraces any research field where there is a legitimate concern about minority reactions and roles in the community. The collection was begun in July 1983. A comprehensive website lists the main details of the collection. .


The collection contains archives and records of Australian Jewish organisations and individuals from the late 1930s and information on Australian Jewish history.

Material housed in the Archive is of a variety of types including anything of an archival or ephemeral nature. The very comprehensive material reflects the multifaceted nature of Jewish life in Australia, and its social interactions within the broader Australian community. The Archive contains collections from individuals relating to themselves as private Jewish persons and as individuals who have been involved in the community and its constituent organisations, sometimes as office bearers. the collection sincludes :

Records, partial or complete, of the major Jewish community organisations, some of which are now defunct.

Photographs of individuals in their roles as members of community organisations or in meetings of historic community import. or of places of community interest, such as synagogues.

Tapes, including programmes of the Jewish Radio Hour from its inception, material and journals of the Australian Association of Jewish Studies, all the reels of "You don't have to be Jewish", and some oral histories.

Videos and dvds are collected by the Archive, and include an interview with Helena Mann, a Holocaust survivor, and a video of the art exhibition of the Jewish Arts and Culture Council in 1989.

Compact discs of Jewish liturgical musical compositions are also being added to the collection, and some dvds.

Books and Periodicals: Early in the existence of the Archive a decision was taken that books and periodicals acquired by the Archive would be housed with the regular research collections of the library and would be catalogued in the usual way. However, in situations where there is no parallel subject holding in the library, e.g. printings of the Yiddish press in Australia, the books and periodicals remain in the Archive.

Theses: Researchers using the collection are encouraged to deposit their earlier theses in the Archive, also pledging a copy of any work based on archival papers consulted in the Archive.

Subject files: These are basically drawn from periodical and manuscript materials, and include clippings from journals and newspapers, or print-outs of"online" articles Files are kept on such topics as Jewish education, immigration, the Freeland League, Jewish communities and organisations, and on Austarlian Jewish individuals, are continually being updated.

Ephemera: It is now recognised that transient documents, generally termed ephemera, have a unique importance for social history and related disciplines. Though ephemeral material was generally discarded in the past and is not kept except by a few dedicated collectors, this material often provides background material to historical events, and small details not preserved in official records. The material includes invitation cards, concert programmes, broadsheets and posters. A substantial collection, filed under organisation now exists in the Archive.

Some of the records and minutes deposited in the Archive are of a semi-confidential nature. Depositing organisations have asked for the semi-confidential records to be place on restricted access. To keep faith with donors and depositors, researchers seeking to use restricted access papers are to bring a signed authority from the organisation concerned. Nowadays email permissions are acceptable.